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5 perfect movies for addressing big moods people are feeling during the outbreak

5 perfect movies for addressing big moods people are feeling during the outbreak

The idea of "cinema therapy" might be as old as the movies themselves. When you need a good cry, laugh, escape or new perspective, movies can offer an emotional catharsis that even books, TV shows and music can't quite match (all right, a good sad song can do wonders, as Elton John noted).

Right about now, everyone needs some kind of good emotional release, and movies are a great place to turn – but there are just too many choices on too many streaming services. With that in mind, here are five films that can fit many of the complicated moods you may be feeling right about now.


FEELING SCARED?

Defending Your Life

Defending Your Life (1991) Official Trailer - Albert Brooks, Meryl Streep Movie HDwww.youtube.com


From writer-director Albert Brooks, Defending Your Life is about a man who suddenly finds himself isolated from everyone and everything he knows: He dies. But he's whisked away to Judgment City, a strangely comforting blend of theme park and office complex. His task is to sit in literal judgment of his life and defend himself against accusations he lived in too much fear. An perfectly winning cast led by Brooks, Meryl Streep, Rip Torn and Lee Grant make this romantic-comedy sparkle, but there's something deeper here, something that all of us can use right now: a reminder that we are all stronger than we think and that fear doesn't need to get the best of us.


(Available on multiple streaming services for about $4)

FEELING WORRIED?

Joe Versus the Volcano


Joe Versus The Volcano (1990) Official Trailer - Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan Comedy HDwww.youtube.com


In Joe Versus the Volcano, Joe Banks (played by Tom Hanks) lives in constant anxiety. He's stuck in a job he hates, and a visit to the doctor reveals a dread diagnosis. That's when he gets a most unusual job offer that propels him on a trans-Pacific voyage that turns into a grand adventure that makes him face his anxieties. This 1990 film is endlessly silly, sometimes downright weird, and certainly an oddity. It's also emotionally daring and honest: writer-director John Patrick Shanley wears his heart on his sleeve, and gladly. In a rare triple performance, Meg Ryan shines brightly – she has a monologue about being "soul sick" that will resonate with anyone in self-isolation or quarantine with another person. The visually magnificent moment in which Joe acknowledges a higher power is about as poetic as movies could possibly get.

(Available on multiple streaming services for about $4.)


FEELING DOUBTFUL?

OH, GOD!


Oh, God! (1977) Official Trailer - John Denver, George Burns Movie HDwww.youtube.com


We're living in a deeply fraught time that could understandably make someone doubt religion. But what if God showed up in the world with a message of faith? That's the setup of director Carl Reiner's 1977 comedy Oh, God!, written by Larry Gelbart ("MASH," Tootsie). God is played by the inimitable comedian George Burns (if you don't know him at all, this will be a special treat), and his modern-day prophet is played by a deeply doubtful John Denver (yes, the singer). Despite its subject matter, the movie is completely agnostic – God, it turns out, doesn't really go in for the religious stuff. Gently, sweetly, the movie takes on some huge issues: Does God even care? Why is there suffering? Does God make mistakes? It's also a great snapshot of the way suburbia looked in 1977 – yes, it really was that funky. But there's something undeniably reassuring about its ultimate message.

(Available on Amazon and Turner Classic Movies On Demand)

FEELING CURIOUS?

The Andromeda Strain


The Andromeda Strain (1971) Trailerwww.youtube.com


While fear and anxiety are understandable, sometimes it can help to take a more clinical approach and to examine the problem from a more dispassionate angle. That's what happens in director Robert Wise's 1971 film The Andromeda Strain, which is based on a novel by Michael Crichton, undisputed master of science-based fiction. But once you do, you'll not only marvel at the eerie familiarity of scientists alarmed by the appearance of a never-before-seen virus that causes some pretty awful symptoms and is always fatal … except to two people. You might also feel increasingly comforted by seeing the dedication that four scientists in particular have to learning about and defeating the microbe. Wise also directed Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Day the Earth Stood Still, and he knows his way around intelligent sci-fi.

(Available on multiple streaming services for about $4.)


FEELING LIKE YOU NEED A GOOD CRY?

Terms of Endearment


Terms of Endearment - Trailerwww.youtube.com


The best thing we can do sometimes is just let it all out. But when we've been holding it in, we need something to help us break through the emotions, and cinematically speaking you can't do better than 1983's Terms of Endearment. Writer-director James L. Brooks puts screen legend Shirley MacLaine together with Debra Winger in a still-hilarious comedy about an over-protective mother and her rebellious daughter who have to maintain a long-distance relationship back when communication wasn't as speedy. A plot twist turns the story into a heartbreaking drama that is massively effective at getting the tears flowing and letting the emotions out, even when sly, salty Jack Nicholson is on screen.

(Available on multiple streaming platforms for about $3-4 – which will be well-spent for those who need to let it all loose)

Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

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Science

Should we wear shoes in the house? Experts weigh in and turns out we should stop immediately.

It's a common practice in the west that may be grosser than we realize.

Experts seem to agree that shoes shouldn't be worn inside

Growing up nearly everyone knew of one house that didn't allow people to wear shoes inside. It didn't matter if you accidentally wore your socks with the hole in them, there were no exceptions–shoes off. For many folks it was just seen as a quirk for that particular family and there wasn't much thought given into why they were adamant about enforcing the rule.

But it turns out that wearing shoes inside is more of a western culture thing than a global one, which makes Americans a minority in keeping outside shoes on while inside the house. It would seem that other countries may have had a bit more of an understanding on why it's a bad idea to wear shoes inside.

Common sense tells us that wearing shoes inside means you'll be sweeping and mopping more often than you'd like. Of course you track in dirt but there are apparently hundreds of bacteria and fungi that you're tracking in that can cause your family to get sick.

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It’s incredibly rare for a bull moose to lose both at the same time—and even more rare that someone would actually catch it on film.

That’s why shed hunter (yes, that’s a real term) and woodsman Derek Burgoyne calls his footage of the phenomenon a “one-in-a-million” shot.

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Photos by Daniela on Unsplash (left) and Rens D on Unsplash (right)

Peeling garlic is notoriously challenging.

If you ever cook with fresh garlic, you know what a challenge it can be to remove the cloves from the skin cleanly, especially if you're starting with a full head.

There are various methods people use to peel garlic, with varying levels of success. Doing it by hand works, but will leave you with garlic-smelling fingertips for the better part of a day. Whacking the head on the counter helps separate the cloves from each other, but doesn't help much with removing the skin.

Some people swear by vigorously shaking the skinned cloves around in a covered bowl or jarred lid, which can be surprisingly effective. Some smash the clove with the flat side of a knife to loosen it and then pull it off. Others utilize a rubber roller to de-skin the cloves.

But none of these methods come close to the satisfaction of watching someone perfectly peeling an entire head of garlic with a pair of tongs.

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Modern Families

‘Hard pill to swallow’: Mom shares why some adult children don’t talk to their parents

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Parent and child deal with the pain of estrangement.

Even though humans are biologically hard-wired to form strong attachments to our parents, in many cases, these relationships become estranged as the children age. A recent poll found that nearly 1 in 4 adults are estranged from their families.

Six percent are estranged from their mothers and 26% have no contact with their fathers. It’s believed that these days, more children are comfortable distancing themselves from their parents because it’s good for their mental health.

“I think it relates to this new desire to have healthy relationships,” Rin Reczek, a sociology professor at the Ohio State University, said, according to The Hill. “There might be some cultural shifts around people being allowed to choose who is in your family. And that can include not choosing to have the person who raised you be in your family.”

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Pop Culture

Loretta Lynn's granddaughter wows 'American Idol' judges with raw original song

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America Idol/Youtube, Promotional image of Loretta Lynn/Wikipedia

Emmy Russell (left) and her grandmother Loretta Lynn (right)

Emmy Russell, granddaughter of country music icon Loretta Lynn, proved that she was an artist in her own right during a recent episode of “American Idol.”

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Nashville auditioned in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan during the show's Feb. 25 episode, during which she opened up about wanting to not live in her grandmother’s shadow.

"She's one of the biggest country music singers of all time, but to me she's just Grandma," she said, adding "I think I am a little timid, and I think it is because I want to own my voice. That's why I want to challenge myself and come out here."

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